Panel: Gender Norms and ‘Modernity’ in the GCC States
This panel will raise questions regarding the changing role of women in the Gulf by elucidating ways in which these women situate themselves between modernization and tradition, forces often assumed to be in direct opposition. Modernization has manifested itself in the Gulf in a variety of forms, including technologies, (such as social media), economics, (such as neoliberal development discourse), and representative politics, (such as more equitable gender representation). While variables of modernization are certainly not limited to these categories, they speak to the unexpected consequences for the societies of the Gulf and the conceptions of modernity and gender roles within those societies.
While economics, technology, and politics are but three lone examples of how ‘modernity’ has manifested itself in the Arab Gulf states, their unexpected consequences on gender inequality when intersecting with traditional institutional norms leave women balancing these two dynamics, often perceived as paradoxical. This panel will be assembled to explore how gender inequality and the role of women in society is affected by the interplay of both traditional norms and modernity in the Arab Gulf States.
Featured Speakers: Dr. Dania Thafer (moderator), Dr. Sahar Khamis, Zarqa Parvez, Alainna Liloia, and more speakers to be announced soon.
Dr. Dania Thafer (moderator)
Executive Director, Gulf International Forum
Dr. Dania Thafer is the Executive Director of Gulf International Forum. Her area of expertise is on the Gulf region’s geopolitics, US-Gulf relations, and the political economy of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states. She is also a Professorial Lecturer at the Center for Contemporary Arab Studies at Georgetown University.
Dr. Thafer been widely published on matters concerning the Arab Gulf states including several articles and publications. She has co-authored two edited books “The Arms Trade, Military Services and the Security Market in the Gulf States: Trends and Implications” and “The Dilemma of Security and Defense in the Gulf Region”. Dr. Thafer is currently writing a book focused on the effect of state-business relations on economic reform in the GCC states. Previously, she worked at the National Defense University’s Near East South Asia Center for Strategic Studies.
Dr. Thafer has a master’s degree in Political Economy from New York University, and PhD specialized in the Political Economy and International Relations of the GCC states from American University in Washington, DC.
Dr. Sahar Khamis
Associate Professor, University of Maryland
Dr. Sahar Khamis is an expert on Arab and Muslim media, and the former Head of the Mass Communication and Information Science Department in Qatar University. She is a former Mellon Islamic Studies Initiative Visiting Professor at the University of Chicago. She is the co-author of the books: Islam Dot Com: Contemporary Islamic Discourses in Cyberspace (Palgrave Macmillan, 2009) and Egyptian Revolution 2.0: Political Blogging, Civic Engagement and Citizen Journalism (Palgrave Macmillan, 2013), and the co-editor of Arab Women’s Activism and Socio-Political Transformation: Unfinished Gendered Revolutions (Palgrave Macmillan, 2018).
Lecturer in Middle East Studies, Hamad bin Khalifa University
Zarqa is a PhD candidate at Durham University, where her research focus includes: Nationalism, National Identity, Women, and State and Society in the Gulf Region. She is currently a lecturer in the Middle Eastern Studies department in the College of Humanities and Sciences at Hamad Bin Khalifa University. Some of her past research projects include: ‘Women and the Status Quo in Saudi Arabia’ and others related to issues of public policy and identity. She has organized academic conferences and lead independent research projects related to the development of education and youth in Qatar. She is the founder of the Women’s Society and Development Club at Georgetown University in Qatar. She is a contributor to Middle East Monitor, where she regularly publishes academic opinion pieces on relevant political, social, and development issues in the Middle East. She obtained her BSc in international Affairs from the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service in Qatar, and her MSc in State, Society, and Development from the University of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies.
PhD Candidate, University of Arizona